The Thermoelectric generator is a device which works on the Peltier Effect. The Peltier Effect states that if a difference in temperature is maintained between a junction of two different metals, an emf will be generated.
This principle is used in the Thermoelectric Generator which is also known as the Peltier Generator. The Peltier Generator converts heat directly to electricity. The efficiency of the Peltier Generator is low (less between 5 and 8 per cent). Therefore, it cannot be used for commercial generation. Efforts are on to find more efficient materials which can improve the efficiency.
The advantages of the thermoelectric generator are that it has no moving parts and can deliver a long, service-free life. It is simple in construction.
The Thermoelectric generator is used in long pipelines for cathodic protection. It can create the impressed voltage for the cathodic protection from the heat obtained locally. There are thermoelectric generators available which can be powered by propane burners. This can be used in remote locations, especially in the higher altitudes where solar radiation is less or in forested areas where solar panels may not work.
Automotive Thermoelectric Generation is an emerging technology which seeks to improve the efficiency of automobiles by converting the waste heat of the engines into useful electricity.